Thursday, October 15, 2009

Religion And The Devil

I heard a Christian woman advising someone yesterday not to do yoga because it was part of the work of false idols (or something). That's the Devil working through those elegant contortions.

The Christianity I grew up around was so much sweeter and more relaxed than that. You could, as Gary Snyder says, "almost love (it) again."

I think the Devil, if he exists, does a big part of his work inside the anger and judgement of people who want to eliminate diversity and have us all worship the same God in the same way.

Fundamentalism is the same on every side, because it's a distortion of the human temperament which finds a place to settle in religion, or in politics.

So I don't blame God or Allah for some of the lunatics who follow them. Religion itself may be the only functioning tool we have to keep society from sliding into chaos.

But there is a powerful resemblance between people like that Christian woman yesterday and the Muslims she thinks so primitive and vile. No drink. No drugs. No sex outside marriage. Disease a punishment from God. Homosexuality a crime against Heaven. The programme is the same.

And we Buddhists sit in the middle of it seeking answers on the meditation cushion. Though there's a fair share of sexism and exclusion of women when you delve into the Buddhist scriptures.

It's just that most people pay no mind to it and understand these books were written in another time, when the social structure was quite different.

All creatures want to be free from suffering, down to the smallest insect. That's what the present Dalai Lama says.

And equal access to the dharma, in Buddhism, is the best way to achieve it.


Anonymous said...

I remember reading Burroughs once, and he was commenting on the same thing; how the Christians were saying you can't relax the mind or body via yoga, "because the devil might get in".

-- Glenn

Bruce Hodder said...

It seems a long way removed from the Christianity I grew up with...